My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me

My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me

by Maya Angelou, Margaret Courtney-Clarke (Photography)
Reprint, ©2003, ISBN: 9780375825675
Trade Paperback, 48 pages
Current Retail Price: $7.99
Not in stock

Historical Setting: South Africa

Full color photographs. "Hello, Stranger-Friend" begins Maya Angelou's story about Thandi, a South African Ndebele girl, her mischievous brother, her beloved chicken, and the astonishing mural art produced by the women of her tribe.  With never-before-seen photographs of the very private Ndebele women and their paintings, this unique book shows the passing of traditions from parent to child and introduces young readers to a new culture through a new friend.

From Publishers Weekly

The poet laureate here adopts the voice of an eight-year-old Ndebele girl of South Africa, who addresses the reader as her "stranger-friend." Thandi, whose name means Hope, describes some of her favorite things: the chicken to whom she confides her secrets, the intricately painted houses in her village, the beads her mother strings. Thandi's narration is strong and direct, and provides a lively introduction to a long-neglected people and culture. Its attempts to embrace the reader, however, seem somewhat strained ("You may call me friend, and I would like to call you friend"), and the use of many sizes and arrangements of type creates some choppiness. The accompanying photographs, on the other hand, do full justice to the brilliant colors of the beadwork, blankets and decorated houses of Thandi's village, and to the various attitudes of the carefully adorned people in it. Regrettably, they offer no more than a glimpse of the landscape nor any larger view of the village as a whole, thus inadvertently narrowing the book's scope. Ages 6-10. 
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-3-A superb portrayal of Ndebele village life and art for young children. "Hello Stranger-friend" begins eight-year-old Thandi as she stands in front of a brightly painted house. In a thoroughly child-true voice, she tells about her beloved chicken, her people's ideas of "good" (which is as close as they come to saying "beautiful"), their ways of making designs in paint or beads, her brother, and going to town. Courtney-Clarke's full-color photographs are stunning. The bold geometric wall-painting designs, for which the Ndebele are famous, dominate the attractively laid out pages, and the typeface varies with the information and emotions expressed by the narrator. This should be a particularly good choice for reading aloud, given its special qualities of language and its visual vitality. Beyond the delights it offers aesthetically, it will leave children with important impressions about the Ndebele (and thus about South Africa): that village life is warm and fun; that village and town life are different; that people there care a lot about beauty, that they care about doing well, and that they are very talented. A unique book that honors Africa by projecting images that are true and honors American children by giving them the very best.
Loretta Kreider Andrews, Enoch Pratt Free Library, Baltimore
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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